Aurelia Turbines develops and produces small gas turbines that can operate on a range of fuels.
Reciprocating engines are large- or medium-scale piston engines used in power generation. They have been built for many decades and the technology is well-known. However, lowering the emissions and enhancing the efficiency of these engines has proven very difficult. Furthermore, these engines lack fuel flexibility as their combustion cycles are limited by the nature of the 4-stroke engine.
Features of a reciprocating engine
- It is relatively efficient in electricity generation but less efficient in heat generation, especially in industrial applications.
- Combustion takes place in quick, separate cycles that all need to be initiated: a 6-cylinder engine generator running at 1,500 rpm entails 4,500 different combustion events in a minute.
- Combustion gas emissions – of, for instance, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) – may be high.
- Using fuels that do not fit the combustion characteristics determined by the engine will stop the engine from performing at full power and/or efficiency, or even cause damage to it.
- The engine may require substantial maintenance.
- This kind of engine has been developed over decades, so it is difficult to innovate further major technological steps.
Why turbines instead of motors?
- Turbines can be designed to be efficient in both electricity and heat generation.
- In a turbine, the combustion is initiated once, at the start of the generation. Once combustion is established, the temperature stays stable throughout the stages of the process. This results in cleaner combustion with significantly lower emissions.
- The structure of the gas turbine enables better fuel flexibility than that of the reciprocating engine.
- There is no need for oil lubrication and cooling when using an active magnetic bearing system. It removes harmful components from the combustion and lubrication processes. This increases the longevity of components and lowers emissions.
- New materials, high-speed technology and inverters provide new opportunities for technological advancement.